Music Reviews

Album Review: Emmylou Harris – 'Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems'

By Jeff Swindoll Oct 11, 2007, 21:10 GMT

Album Review: Emmylou Harris – 'Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems'

Emmylou Harris, godmother of the Americana movement, is a phenomenon for any number of reasons, one of which is that she has has managed to conduct more than four decades of her remarkable career without a single misstep. While Harris has always been committed to honoring the roots of old-school, traditional country, she also expanded the music beyond its conservative lyrics and narrow melodic structures without abandoning its core themes ...more

Twelve-time Grammy Award winning singer Emmylou Harris looks back on thirty years of her career with this five disc set of favorites and unreleased tracks (78 in total). 

The four discs are the music and the fifth is a selection of videos.  She begins with a rare unreleased track from her 1969 solo debut ‘Gliding Bird’ and continues into modern times. 

Some of the famous voices appearing, besides Harris, include Willie Nelson (“One Paper Kid”), Johnny Cash (“Jordan”), Dr. John (“Ashes by Now”), Waylon Jennings (“Spanish Johnny”), Sheryl Crow (“Juanita”), Beck (“Sin City”), and many others. 

There’s also a selection of songs by the trio of Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Harris.  Harris has a haunting ethereal voice and not only does the songs with the famous participants sound grand, but also the solo tracks are well worth the listen.  My favorites are probably the selection of hymns that she did with Parton and Ronstadt.

They feel from a different time and are quite moving in my opinion.  “Immigrant Eyes” is also quite moving about the singer’s grandfather (or the songwriter’s grandfather perhaps).  It’s quite the collection and a must have for Harris’ fans or just fans of good music.

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